Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Banana Me!

James said "Banana" tonight!
At the grocery store.
Pointing to the Bananas.
Just one more step!
Yay!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

some fun tidbits

From the violets in bloom in my yard with a wonderful smell and the sun and the warm to...
The cake tramp. Thats right. 6 inches of snow piled on that trampoline. I saw it this morning and told Drue it looked like a frosted wedding cake. All it needs is a little bride and groom on top.
The bench- where I sat 2 weeks ago in the warm and sun- maybe even got a little sunburnt in the 70 degree weather...Now, sniff. Buried in the snow for another 2 weeks.
And you thought digging out YOUR car was a chore! Poor James will not be able to see the inside of his car for a while yet.

So, we play inside instead. I just happened to get a shot of this pretty common sight in my home. But its still funny. He climbs into his toy box to look for something and then gets all involved playing in there that he doesn't come out for some minutes. Its really cute to see him play IN his toy box.
And now for something completely different.
This next part of my post happened this morning- BEFORE I was out of my bed- because laying in bed where my back, hips, muscles, legs, and head DON'T hurt is preferable to what happens when I get out of bed. I hear Drue call from down stairs "Ashley, you'd better get up and see this for yourself!"
Up? Okay. 
So, I'm thinking something bad has happened and he's trying to not get mad. This is what I saw:
The butter.
The door with butter "painted" onto it.
My proud little boy with butter all over his fingers.
Apparently what happened is that James got downstairs- like we told him to, good boy!- and found the step stool which he then used to push up to the counter looking for the "cookies" (which are just little sugar free animal crackers we usually have on hand). Instead, he found the butter, all nice and mushy- the perfect consistency for painting!
The closest thing he could find to paint on was the laundry "room" doors, so when Drue found him, he had the butter in one hand- kinda crushed- and the other hand busily employed in finger-painting my doors.
When I got down stairs and saw what he had done, I laughed out loud! He was so proud of himself and smiling from ear to ear! And of course, this kind of thing you MUST document, so I grabbed the camera which just happened to be close by- thank heavens!- and took pictures!
What a funny start to an otherwise winter-y depressing day!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Decision time

After having done a TON of research on links between overall general health, specific health concerns, specific physiological problems, specific behavioral issues, and developmental delays, my family and I have made a decision about how we're planning on addressing these issues in James.
This new diet is fail-safe. It has the backing of the best doctors in the world and shows results quickly. It emphasizes eating Whole grains (including but not limited to: Oats, Barley, Spelt, Quinoa -pronounced KEEN-wa -whole red wheat, and a host of others that I just can't think of), lots of vegetables and fruit as organic as possible making sure to eat VARIETY!!!, very little refined sugar if any at all, red and white meats sparingly but legumes in abundance. This diet we have all known about for years but for whatever reason, most people do not live it.
I am, of course, referring to the Word of Wisdom.
After doing research about the Gluten-free, Casein-free diet and learning about the food encouraged to be eaten and the foods that are "off limits", I realized some things.
1. We buy bread at the store. This bread- even if its "whole grain"- does not have incredibly important ingredients found in homemade bread. By homemade I mean grind-the-wheat-to-make-my-bread kind. The extra ingredients found in store bought bread are there to preserve freshness for extended periods of time (baking, shipping, clerical, storage, put on shelves, purchased, home for 1 week and its STILL not bad yet?) and are not great for your body. If your body happens to be a little autoimmune deficient, it is worse.
Solution: Make my own bread!
2. Vegetable and Fruit just aren't what they used to be! How sad. Veg and fruit are two of my favorite things to eat! But studies suggest that the pesticides and other growth chemicals sprayed onto earth foods, as well as leached into the soil, are SUPER toxic. Especially in potatoes, apples and bananas, and lettuces.
Solution: grow some of my own fruit and veg. Buy the rest organic!
3. Meats don't have to be the only place to get protein. Beans and Legumes are the BEST source of fiber, protein and vitamins. They store for years and never loose their "punch!". They are plentiful and CHEAP! to both purchase and grow. Besides, who doesn't love beans and rice?
Solution: beans, beans, the magical fruit. NO, really.
4. Dairy? Who needs it?
This was a heads up to me. Lord knows I LOVE cheese and a cold glass of milk after a brownie... But the body doesn't need to collect calcium from cow's milk or cheeses, yogurts or creams. These things are for FLAVOR- not necessarily for nutritional value. 
Your body will MAKE calcium from the vitamins, proteins and amino acids it already has at its disposal. You want good calcium? Eat collard greens. They'll also give you folic acid in SPADES.
Solution: we are cutting dairy out of our daily intake. The only exception is butter -when I want to bake. No cow milk- rice perhaps- cheeses, yogurts (unless they are pro-biotic) and creams.

I'm still in the process of putting up reminders to myself about this "new" diet. We expect a miracle from the Lord so we'll do things His way. I am only trying to be obedient here but I have a strong faith that if I do what the Lord asks me to, I can ask him for miracles. James talking will be my miracle and it may only come one step at a time (like so many others) but it WILL come- especially if I am obedient.
 
oh, I also intend to lose weight.:)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things I love about spring and misc...

okay, since I apparently don't get to start my blog today with the pics I wanted to, here's a nice random thing I saw a couple of days ago. If you're thinking to your self: Gee, self, that car looks somewhat familiar but what it is from?- I will now answer that for you. Behold the modern re-creation of the Ecto-1, better known as the Ghostbusters Wagon! I was pulling into a parking lot and saw this car with all the lights and horns and STUFF on the top and there were 3 guys standing around it by the back. As I drove by the trunk, they had pulled out (and I'm not even kidding) an ectoplasm set for each of them set on a tray that pulled out-each guy wearing the ghostbuster's sign on their shirt. No joke.
I did a REAL double take. I've never done one of those in my life! But I did it for them. It was almost too ludicrous to be true and yet, there they were. As they closed up the trunk I saw the license plate: ECTO-1. Click on the pic and take a close look! I almost laughed out loud! But in the interest of self-preservation (I wasn't going to be a mocker) I didn't and opted for a camera instead! Good thing I had put my camera in my purse that day!
This is my boy pointing to his blanket as if to say "look what I did!". And it's true- he did that. I have NO idea HOW he got that blanket up there and so nicely centered, but it was there and I had to get a picture of my proud little boy and his "blanket art".
Boy in my car. He loves it in there. Before he will get into his seat, he has to ride in MY seat and pretend to drive. 
Boy in HIS car. Not as cool as mommy's, but at least this one will GO somewhere. Also, it only has 1 seat. I guess I won't be getting a ride from him anytime soon!
My spring time boy. He's such an angel-face! And a ham. I love it. Anytime I want to take a picture of him, he always obliges!
I love seeing the new green grass poking through the old brown stuff. Somehow, this small gesture always reminds me that things are starting to get better!
I LOVE that I can wash my car and keep it clean for more than 2 days in a row. It always seems like the day after you wash your car, it rains, snows, birds, ices etc.. thereby leaving it dirty again!

I love my little dirt boy! He's so happy there- and I just let him do it. Its not like its going to hurt...
The next-door dog- Casey. He's cute. But he bays. A Lot.
Blue skies, nothing but blue skies do I see! This makes me happier than almost anything in the spring!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

why oh why?

HELP! I cannot understand why my images are uploading to the text portion of my blogspot in
1. html code instead of the actual pics so I can comment on them AS I ad them?
2. NOT the order i uploaded them in?
3. I cannot move pics around?

if someone has any idea about these perplexing (to me) developments, I would LOVE to hear how to remedy them! Honestly, its getting really irritating not being able to post all the pics I have to share! Grr!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mmm, Mozart!


Drue and I had a FABULOUS date night on saturday! We went to see The Marriage of Figaro and it was fantastic!!!
First of all, a little information.
This is an opera done in grand comic style. Or in other words, its FUNNY- a specialty of Mozarts! He was (in)famous for his sense of humor.
It is also written and sung in Italian which made listening both a delight and little difficult. Fortunately, there were supertitles being shown above the action so folks knew (approximately) what was being sung...
But on to the show.
First of all, when going to the opera, its a good idea to get Box seats whenever you can. We got a SLAMMIN' deal on our seats since we're students and have the student season pass to the Symphony and Opera. You can't beat $8 per ticket! Our seats were RIGHT close to the stage, so we could read the text, see the action CLEARLY, hear the singers CLEARLY (and by clearly I mean we could hear them breathe, pronounce, facial expressions, etc... even the makeup jobs! It was magical!- seeing as the last time I saw a Mozart Opera was at the San Francisco Opera house and I had NOSEBLEED seats -like, if I stood up and extended my arm upwards, I could touch the ceiling!
Now about the singers.
I REALLY wish I could find pictures of all the singers! They were EXCELLENT. But Figaro was by far my favorite! He had this smooth, rich, creamy voice like Dark Chocolate- he was a bass baritone- and tall, handsome, and had this great smile when his two dimples would show up. And comic timing? This guy was perfect! Hilarious! We were laughing OUT LOUD at most times when he was on stage. Almost like he was born to play the role. I believe in people being born to perform some particular work or another- and this applies across the board from engineering to painting, music to cooking. This Figaro was beautiful in the role!
Susanna was a little weak for my taste- but Drue thought she was very good. I will admit, when it was just her, she really shone- especially when she is singing of her love for Figaro. That was spot on! But when there were more than 2 singers, she kinda got lost. But she was engaging and played her part well.
The Countess was my favorite of the two sopranos. She sang with intensity and wonderful expression and had a firm command on her tone quality which is always desirable in a soprano! (haha!) And she really had her part of the depraved and spurned wife down pat!
The Count had a commanding presence! He was also a bass-baritone but not quite so silky as Figaro. More edge to his voice but so powerful! Commanding and regal! He WAS "THE COUNT". And I loved watching him get his come-uppance! Vangance is sweet. Especially when its not happening to me!
The story of the Opera is a situational comedy. Here it is in a nutshell:
the count has abolished the feudal right of the "lord" to sleep with a maid on her wedding night, before her fiance.
Every one thinks this is great.
Until the servant Susanna- who the count thinks is hot- is engaged to Figaro- the count's personal valet.
Figaro and Susanna are very happy to get married, especially now that the count can't usurp on the wedding night.
But, count still tries to woo Susanna.
Meanwhile, Countess knows about count getting flirty with all the maids. She's sad about it because she really does love him.
Page boy- Cherubino- is drowning in testosterone. The Count catches Cherubino hitting on Countess and dismisses him.
Cherubino goes to Susanna for comfort and tries to get her to get the Countess to give him his job back.
Susanna tries to help.
Count surprises Susanna- who hides Cherubino- and tries to woo her. Cherubino hears. Thinks something is going on.
Figaro suspects the count of trying to woo his lady but can do nothing.
Susanna goes to Countess to help Cherubino (who has subsequently been assigned to seville but cannot go because his orders lack a seal).
Countess mourns her hubby for his philandering ways.
Figaro, Countess, Cherubino and Susanna plot to play a trick of identity on the count so he'll leave Susanna alone...

I'm going to leave the story there. If you want to know how this all plays out- go to the opera! You'll NOT regret it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Set Back

James had a Dr. appointment today and now I have some news to share. We previously thought that James' speech development was the only thing he was struggling with in relation to his peers. This is no longer the case. He has been referred to a couple of specialists in Autism- his doctor and his therapists have all noticed some unusual behavioral patterns and they are of the opinion that he registers on the Austistic Spectrum, somewhere. To be fair, we're not sure EXACTLY where he hits on the scale, but I can see the difference between him and other 2 year-olds. Its amazing how marked the difference is.
I'm not too upset about this new development in a possible diagnosis. I know he is not severely Autistic, so thats a huge relief! But he still will have to do MORE therapy, more school, more everything. I am concerned about my ability to care for him and make sure I am doing EVERYTHING I can to help him succeed, AND have another baby to care for and nurture and raise that may or may not be just like James.
My sister-in-law, Jennifer, has 4 children, 2 of which have severe mental and physical handicaps. I have only 1 child who has light to moderate social and communication handicaps and yet I already feel overwhelmed. How do you do it, Jen?! This new baby will certainly be an education! I'll need all the help I can get.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

triumph!

"The word Triumph begins with 'try' and ends with... UMPH! a GREAT BIG UMPH!"- Memphis, Happy Feet
James said the word "Daddy" tonight! And he made the sign with it too. He's SO proud of himself and we couldn't be happier! These words are small, but NECESSARY for vocabulary development, identification skills and basic mouth manipulation! Every time he even tried to say a new word I am thrilled beyond belief! Still waiting for "mama" but I have faith it will come- and when I least expect it. He's also reading to himself- this is funny to watch and so sweet to listen to. And when I read a book and then say "okay, your turn" he'll point at himself. This is a new development too but one that is CRUCIAL- the identification of ones self. I am so proud of my little funny boy.

broken

Scare alert!
Apparently, last night our car got broken into. Not the actual cabin part- thank heavens! Just the gas tank part. For some odd reason, someone decided it would be a great idea to try to siphon off some of our gas. What?! Then, I guess it didn't work out because when I got into the car today, there was the same amount of gas in it I left there the previous night. I didn't even know we had this problem until coming home from Costco today and Drue noticed a Gas cap on the lawn by the driveway. Odd. So, he asked me to pop the gas cover and sure enough- we're missing our gas cap. And look!- there's where the pain has been chipped off where someone pried open the cover.
The only things i can think about this are:
1. Thank heavens they didn't see anything worth breaking into my actual car for. There's nothing there anyways. A car seat. woo.
2. Thank heavens they (apparently) failed to get what they wanted and were content to just leave instead of inflicting real damage.
3. I do not feel like my car is safe anymore. We have an off-street parking pad behind our home. This means someone would have had to approach my home from the alleyway drive in the back OR walk right by my bedroom window to get to my car. This is not a good feeling. I'm not usually the paranoid one about safety because I have the strange thought that people are inherently good- but after discovering this small infarction today- I must admit to being VERY paranoid.
Does this helpless feeling ever go away?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Money Money Money


After hearing some very sobering news about the current state of the fiscal policy of most americans, I thought I might share some of the ideas that my family has been using to conserve our cash flow with the prayer that it might be beneficial to some of you- the all of 2 people who read my blog.
I was listening to NPR and heard some interesting statistics: American savings was at -1% last year and is now at 5%. The beginning of the recession was precipitated by the sub-prime mortgage debacle. The current period of recession is "consumer driven". The average credit card debt carried by an american household is just over $8,000.00 and NO state is immune to that number.
Some of these statistics are old, and some are new. But the important thing is that they are there.
Here are some things my family does to ensure our financial viability through this tough time.
1. Every week for the start of the lesson portion of family home evening, we read one section from the pamphlet "One for the Money" distributed by the church, written by Elder Marvin J Ashton. We are able to review one section, week by week, and evaluate how we are doing as money managers, where our money is being spent and how often. This is a great little book and I highly recommend it. It also prompts discussion about how to appropriately involve our children in the family finances and gives us ideas about how to teach our kids good fiscal policy.
2. We run a "stress test" every few months to see how we are holding up to our budget. A stress test is essentially a worst-case scenario exercise involving your current budget, how long you can survive on what your savings is RIGHT NOW, and what you might be able to streamline. I was pleasantly surprised last night to find that our budget as it stands will give us financial security for 8 months- just like Suze Orman recommends. If you run a stress test and find that some things can be streamlined NOW, then do so and start saving even that little bit for later.
3. At the beginning of each 6 months, I do a re-budgeting. The first month of every 6, I will keep each and every receipt I can for ANY purchase made. At the end of the month, I compare how, where, and when I spent money, and on what- this gives me an updated idea of the family needs every 6 months and lets me adjust my budget where it needs it most.
4. The first of each month is "BILL PAY DAY". This means that I take about 1 hour and pay all bills by check or online and get them ALL DONE at once. Utility companies are glad to adjust your pay date earlier or later depending on when you want to make your "Pay Day"! Paying all of them at once, again, SHOWS you where and how much you spend for your home, gas, electricity, phone, internet etc... I also take BPD to transfer ALL the money we will need for the month (barring unforseen emergencies) into my checking account and THATS WHAT I CAN USE.
5. All discretionary spending is done on a CASH ONLY BASIS. That means when the cash runs out, so does my spending power.
6. ALL OTHER FUNDS ARE DEPOSITED DIRECTLY INTO SAVINGS!!! If you never put it into your checking account, then you are less tempted to spend it.
7. When you look to save, you will save all you can. When you look to spend, you will spend MORE than you can. We always look to save.
8. My family's motto this year (and I think from now on) is from President David O. MacKay:
"Fix it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without."
I think this is the most basic idea involved in Provident Living. We have been counseled time and time and time and time again to "live within our means". I hope that maybe some of the things we do to keep our family solvent (unlike the banking system) may help you or give you an idea of what to change, streamline or just boost your self esteem about your money management. We've enjoyed prosperity because of this. I hope you do to!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Odds and ends


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I am a delinquent photographer in that I take pics and then forget to post them. So, here are some pictures I found on my camera. Jacob came to visit one weekend and it was a PLEASANT surprise! Maybe he'll do it again sometime soon (hint hint)...
James decided a color bin would make a great hat- and we thought it was too cute to pass up. Of course, now he thinks its always cute to dump out whatever toys I have just finished picking up and put the bin on his head... not sure about that yet.
Also in this collection, my boys were sick together and they just looked so miserable I had to take a picture of them together- somehow its such a tender moment when they are snuggled up together in a blanket, even if they do feel ka-put.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The doctor says...

I had ANOTHER doctor appointment yesterday- the Glucola test appointment. For those of you who are unaware of this blessing, let me explain. This test is designed to help the doctors know if you have gestational diabetes. You are required to drink 10 oz. of liquid sugar within a 5 minute time limit. This WONDERFUL drink must be consumed EXACTLY one hour before you have your blood drawn by your local vampire. The medical intention is to find out how your body responds to an OVERLOAD of sugar- if it is digesting and breaking down the enzymes fast enough, then you are clear. If you are NOT doing this fast enough, then you have to do another test this time involving fasting and drawing blood 3 times over a 4 hour period. Luckily, I did not have to do that part- I just had to drink this stuff that looked like acid kool-aid and BURNED going down my throat. I drank the orange stuff- my doc didn't have the lemon-lime flavor this time.
So, I drank the draught, went to the doc, got my blood drawn and then the fun begins. I honestly don't want to know how much weight I've gained over the last month, but the nurse is insistent on saying it out loud. Okay, fine. So, I'm roughly the size of a small house. My Doc says "well, you're a little high, but its better than last month." Thanks for that. How much do I owe you for that one? Listen to the heartbeat. I really do enjoy this part- its nice to hear a strong, healthy beating heart. Then we get measured from pelvis to the top of the fundus (aka uterus)- 28. I'm supposedly in week 27, but the height of your fundus and your progress through the 40 wonderful weeks of pregnancy are supposed to be equivalent. Verily, I'm technically in week 28. This means I've only got 12 more weeks to go! This makes me VERY happy. I'm hoping that after I give birth to this little boy- who we have decided to name Oliver Dean Daily- I'll be able to walk around without throwing out my back. Keep your fingers crossed.